In a recent Ask the Builder segment, the Tribune Media Services’ Tim Carter tackled the subject of what to look for when hiring a roofer. The topic is a timely one given that the hurricane season is in full swing and winter snow and ice are just around the corner. Why would one take chances on leaks when he or she could avoid such a fiasco with a roof repair or replacement now?
Well, it seems the anxiety over hiring a roofer sometimes is more paralyzing than the potential for a leaky disaster. And such fears are not unfounded ones. In fact, a quick search of the recent Yahoo! News headlines revealed at least three that were directly associated with roof/roofing scams. To be sure, there are fly-by-night roofers and roofing scam artists out there, but there are also trustworthy roof professionals who can get the job done right. The trick lies on finding them.
Carter believes that much of homeowners’ roofer-hiring apprehensions stem from their lack of understanding of how “roofing systems work.” Such naivety puts them on the handicapped side of the equation. After all, how can you tell if a roofer is a scam artist if you don’t even have the right vocabulary to ask him the essential questions?
As with most things in life, education is power, and the process of hiring a roofer is no different. To that end, Carter recommends visiting the roofing material business that services the roofers you’re considering. “Ask to speak with the general manager or the owner. Talk to them about which shingle or roofing product they feel is the best value for the money and would work best on your home,” he advises.
In the process, you’ll get up to speed on the industry lingo and narrow down your roofing material choices.
But don’t leave the premises without the written installation instructions for the exact product you intend to use, cautions Carter. Armed with the information contained therein, you can begin the roofing contractor drilling process. “Remember, whomever you hire must do all the things listed in the instructions to ensure you end up with a valid warranty,” Carter stresses.
If a particular roofer passes the test, you’re well on your way to a deal, but don’t sign the contract on that basis alone. Make sure that every detail you’ve discussed with the roofing contractor has been put in writing. Now isn’t the time to be lazy or lackadaisical. Read the contract and consult with a legal professional if need be.
Once your new roof has been installed according to the specifications you set forth in the contract, don’t congratulate yourself too quickly on a hiring job well done. Engaging the services of home inspector is a proactive final step. He can ensure your new roof has been installed properly, long before the warranty runs out. Only when the inspector has given the roof repair or replacement his seal of approval should you release final payment to the roofing contractor.